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When an evil emperor executes their leader, his band of knights – bound by duty and honour – embarks on a journey of vengeance that will not come to an end until they've destroyed their mortal foe.
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Last Knights movie full length review - The familiar samurai tale told in the exact same way, but with knights
"The code was simple: Possess an absolute devotion to one's Master."
Last Knights is Japanese director, Kazuaki Kiriya's third feature film,
but his first one with well known Hollywood actors.
What he attempts to
do here is blend the familiar story of the 47 Ronin and adapt it to the
Medieval world of knights. Why would you want to trade samurai soldiers
for knights? I have no idea because it actually doesn't work. You have
these men living by a code of honor similar to the samurai, but there
is nothing fresh or unique about the idea because the entire story
becomes completely predictable and generic. During this feudal world,
Captain Raiden (Clive Owen) is completely devoted to serving the house
of Bartok (Morgan Freeman), his wealthy and caring Master. Second in
command is another loyal knight, Lt. Cortez (Cliff Curtis). These
knights live by a strong code of honor and respect for their Master,
but when Bartok is dishonored by the Emperor's corrupt adviser, Gezza
Mott (Aksel Hennie), the knights are dismantled. Will the knights be
able to rise again and avenge their Master or will they fall into
despair and go back to their old ways? If you've seen any samurai movie
you probably know what to expect.
The greatest issue I had with Last Knights is its lack of originality.
We've seen the film played out many times before and that makes the
pacing of the film feel incredibly tedious because we know what is
going to happen next. Kiriya tries to take his time establishing the
setting and building the characters, but since we've seen this world
before it doesn't do anything for the audience. Clive Owen is a fine
actor, but he's even played this role before in King Arthur, a knight
who is completely devoted to the cause. Morgan Freeman is one of those
actors who you could close your eyes just to hear him speak and that is
basically why he's in this, to narrate the introduction of the film and
set the premise. Last Knights can easily be divided into three acts,
the first being the introduction of each character and the injustice
they must face, the second which takes up most part of the film centers
on the build-up of each character, and the third part of the film and
by far the most exciting is the climax where vengeance is coming. The
problem is that neither the introduction or the character development
manage to engage the audience and everything is taken way too seriously
for us to be entertained by it.
The characters are completely one dimensional. Only Clive Owen gets to
play a meaty role, but everyone else is simply playing a stereotypical
character in a film like this. And even watching Owen on screen you
can't help but feel the familiarity of having seen him play this role
before. The villain is perhaps the best example of how stereotypical
the characters in this film are. You couldn't have Aksel Hennie play a
more evil or sadistic man than he is here: he beats his wife, abuses
people, accepts bribes from other noble men, and to top things off he
hurts animals. He's also a coward who surrounds himself with thousands
of guards and a heavy fortified home. That is what actually makes the
final climax scene quite entertaining. The action is delivered quite
well and it makes up for some of the tedious pacing during the first 80
minutes of the film. Is it enough to recommend the film? Not even